Posted by paul
16 April, 2014

History of Bondgate House

Bondgate House circa 1890

Over the past couple of years I’ve been trying to trace the history of the house, but so far haven’t found out when it was built. The census records have given me quite a bit of information about who lived here since 1841 and I know that between at least 1821 and 1978, only 3 families lived in Bondgate House – the Pringles, the Robsons and the Trevor-Ropers. I say ‘at least’ 1821 as the census records do not go back that far, but there is a very old map in the local Fire Station with the name ‘Pringle’ against the house and various Trade Directories around that time also say that a Mr Pringle lived here. He was an attorney in Alnwick but died sometime in the 1840′s, leaving his wife and 2 unmarried daughters living here. The Robsons came towards the end of the nineteenth century and Robert Robson was one of the doctors in Alnwick. The house was eventually sold (after his death) to another doctor – Bertie Trevor-Roper – who lived here until his death in the late 1970′s. So, for much of the last century, the house was not only a home, but also a doctor’s surgery. Bertie Trevor-Roper had 3 children, one of whom was Hugh Trevor-Roper (Lord Dacre) the historian and whose childhood home this was.

The picture of the house (at the top) was taken, I think, at the turn of the nineteenth century and the person on the front step, I like to think, is Mrs Robson, the doctor’s wife.

The search has been made more difficult by the fact that house numbers changed mid 19th century – so it started out as no.42 Bondgate Without before eventually becoming no.20. If you look closely at the photo of the house you can see what looks like a mark in the middle of the blocked up window on the first floor. The window was unblocked in the late 1970′s and the mark (which is a fire insurance plaque) was moved to just above the newly opened window.

Fire insurance plaque

The plaque was issued by the Newcastle Fire Office, which was established in 1783, but this probably dates from the 1840′s according to Aviva’ s archivist. It’s been a bit battered but the name ‘Newcastle’ is clearly visible although the 3 towers are not that clear now.

There’s plenty more research to do but it will have to wait until quieter times but I’m looking forward to filling in some of the details as it is the details that make this history search so fascinating. For example, we know from relatives of Bertie Trevor-Roper that the house was one of the first in Alnwick to have a telephone installed and the telephone number was Alnwick 2 – guess who had the number Alnwick 1!

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